Mr. Alan Hesketh
Amidst the constant pressure of midterm marks, the Harker Hall community finally had a good reason to throw their books aside just for one weekend. Because what’s slightly better than a Harvard acceptance letter for them? A weekend with the girls from Queen Margaret’s School.
On the 20th of October, the girls from Queen Margaret’s School came for a visit to Harker Hall and the boarders were eager to see them. When the sign-up list for various weekend activities with QMS opened, the spaces were filled in less than 2 minutes. There was no denying that all the Harker Hall students wanted to make a good impression on the visiting students.
On the Saturday they arrived, the boys from Harker Hall were on their best behavior as they wanted to stay away from embarrassing both themselves and their school. However, this fear also led them to be shy and tentative. It was not until the icebreakers started that the solid ice between the two groups began to warm.
After the tension was cut, the students from the two schools broke off into groups to spend time together at the first main events of the day. People had two choices: they could either show off their accuracy and bravery at archery tag or test their wits and flaunt their intellect at one of the mysterious Escape Rooms in Richmond.
At archery tag, the students from both schools were divided into two teams. Then, they took part in a game of paintball, but with blunt-tipped arrows with students avoiding and dodging the flying projectiles at all costs while firing back at will. Though it was tiring and sweaty, there was no greater satisfaction than hearing the thwack of an arrow that they had shot hitting an opponent’s body.
Meanwhile, at the escape rooms, the Harker Hall students teamed up with the girls from Queen Margaret to solve cryptic challenges and enigmatic mysteries. There were many confusing and mind-boggling puzzles hidden in every corner of the room. The rooms had different themes (Space, medieval, treasure hunting, etc.) and students had a hard time choosing which to play. All the groups managed to escape from their world with one speedy group even managing to finish 20 minutes early.
With time to spare before the big event back at the senior school, everyone gathered back together for bubble tea at a nearby café to share the stories and adventures they had that afternoon. Each boy bragged about their accomplishments in the afternoon with every one of them trying to outdo the others.
While archery tag and escape rooms were exciting and interesting, they were nothing compared to the event that night: The Social. The whole Lower Great Hall was transformed completely, with a variety of poker tables and pool tables that surrounded a large dance floor in the middle. The hall was nearly unrecognizable as flashy lights, and smoke machines lit the spectacle in a way never seen before.
At 7, with everyone dressed in their best suits, a night of fun and games began. While some spent large portions of the evening just playing games, nobody neglected the main attraction of the evening: the dance floor. Excited members of both schools flooded into the center as the music began to play. As “DJ Anthony” pulled out pop song after pop song, the noise of the party became louder and louder, drowning out all the distress and worries of school, at least for the moment. The festivities could’ve gone on forever if not for Mr. Hesketh, who ended the night at 11 pm, sending us all home to return to reality.
In the end, the social was met with overwhelming satisfaction with veterans and newcomers alike. As one new boarder this year, said, “Wow, just wow. I’m really impressed they can pull off something like this! I’m definitely gonna do this again next year.” Meanwhile, a boarder who has been here since 2015, exclaimed, “The songs this year really brought us to our feet. Props to DJ Anthony for that!”
In this one day and night, the boys of Harker Hall got to meet and get to know the girls of Queen Margaret’s School better than they know some of their friends. Harker Hall students will be visiting Queen Margaret’s School later in the year, returning the favor. After this memorable weekend, the boys can hardly wait for the joyous reunion that is to come!